After a traumatic brain injury, your exterior may look like the same old you, but internally, you feel different. You may even be wondering if your life will ever be the same again. Thankfully, with a lot of hard work, many patients have been able to see their symptoms fade over time.
According to the Brain Trauma Foundation, about 2.5 million people suffer from a traumatic brain injury each year with 3.2% of these injuries resulting in a permanent disability. Every person with a TBI will face unique challenges during their journey to recovery, therefore, it is impossible to predict an individual’s course of healing.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
Most frequently caused by a violent blow to the head or body, traumatic brain injuries can also be the result of a puncture in the brain tissue, like from a bullet or shard of skull fragment. TBIs can affect your brain cells temporarily or could result in physical damage that could lead to long-term complications or even death.
After surviving a TBI, you may find it difficult to speak, move, or concentrate. Mild TBIs, also known as concussions, either don’t cause unconsciousness or result in unconsciousness of less than 30 minutes. You may also experience emotional and physical symptoms such as:
- Mood changes
- Sleep disorders
- Memory loss
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Trouble speaking
Signs of a brain injury can appear immediately, but sometimes they may not develop for days to weeks after the accident.
Moderate traumatic brain injuries cause unconsciousness lasting between 30 minutes and 24 hours. For a TBI to be considered severe, it must cause unconsciousness for over 24 hours.
Phases of Traumatic Brain Injury Recovery
Medical personnel will first focus on limiting any additional damage to the brain. After all obvious injuries are treated and breathing is supported, they will work to minimize blood and fluid accumulation in the brain. After any necessary surgeries are performed, there are ten phases that people with a brain injury could progress through, according to the Rancho Los Amigos Level of Cognitive Functioning Scale. These stages are:
- Level 1 – No response, total assistance: No change in behavior when stimulated.
- Level 2 – Generalized response, total assistance: Generalized reflex response to stimuli.
- Level 3 – Localized response, total assistance: Withdraws from painful stimuli.
- Level 4 – Agitated/confused, maximal assistance: May exhibit fight or flight behavior.
- Level 5 – Inappropriate non-agitated/confused, maximal assistance: Often demonstrates inappropriate use of objects without external guidance.
- Level 6 – Appropriate, confused, moderate assistance: Able to perform highly familiar tasks in non-distracting environments for 30 minutes with moderate redirection.
- Level 7 – Automatic, appropriate, minimal assistance: Minimal supervision for new learning.
- Level 8 – Purposeful, stand-by assistance: Independent completion of familiar tasks for 1 hour in distracting environments.
- Level 9 – Purposeful, stand-by assistance on request: Accurately estimates abilities but requires stand-by assistance.
- Level 10 – Purposeful, modified independent: Able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously in all environments, but may require periodic breaks.
Not every person with a TBI will experience each level of progression, but most will progress through the bulk of their recovery journey within the first six months to two years. Others may take longer, with some patients found to have improving function even after their 10-year mark.
Speak with a California Brain Injury Lawyer About Your TBI
If you or someone you love has been the victim of a traumatic brain injury, you are not alone. In 2019, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported that traumatic brain injuries lead to 50,000 deaths and millions of emergency department visits annually. Each of these injuries can lead to life-long emotional, physical, and financial challenges.
TBIs that resulted from the negligence of another person or company may entitle you to compensation for your lost wages, medical expenses, or pain and suffering. The Law Offices of JG Winter will fight for you to obtain the maximum recovery for your damages. Servicing the Sacramento area and throughout California, call us today at 844-734-2626 or complete an online contact form to schedule a free consultation for your case.